Monday, April 23, 2012

A final word on the MAC: Thanks

Terry Bowden has a tough selling job ahead at Akron.

Television sets in a sports department are little more than background noise, but around 8 p.m. every evening someone invariably gets up and starts to flip the sports channels.
Such was the case on a fall weeknight night about 15 years ago at The Philadelphia Inquirer, long before Temple became involved with the MAC.
One of my colleagues stopped on a MAC football game and I said:
"That's it's. MAC football. Gotta love it."
Even famed pitchman Andrew Sullivan doesn't envy
the selling job Terry Bowden has ahead of him at Akron.

Fortunately, I had a fellow MAC football football fan in the room and we pursuaded the house to have MAC football on over every other option.
Soon, the rest of the newsroom was hooked on MAC football and not much convincing was required after that.
I was a MAC football fan long before I worked at the Inky, long before Temple was in the conference and remained a MAC fan throughout Temple's tenure and probably will follow the conference's games more closely than any other not named the Big East going forward.
I'll take the MAC over the SEC, Big 10 or PAC-12.
Not saying the MAC is better than any of those conferences, I just think their games are more entertaining to watch.
I just came to the conclusion the MAC was a bad fit for Temple.
Temple fans never warmed up to the new "rivalries"  like Buffalo and pined for old ones like Rutgers.
Temple is, institutionally and geographically at least, more like Rutgers or UConn than it is like Central or Eastern Michigan.
Nothing illustrates the struggle Temple would have faced had it continued in the MAC more than the enormous task that faces former Auburn coach Terry Bowden as the new Akron coach.
Good luck to him. He's got a brand new $61 million stadium that Al Golden envied and they can't come close to filling it. Unlike Temple, Bowden can't promise a recruit playing time in a BCS conference or a CHANCE to win a national championship.
Temple finally has a seat at the adult dinner table, while the MAC presses its adorable noses outside the window looking into the ornate room.
Without the MAC, though, Temple never gets that seat.
So my final word on the MAC is thanks.
I'll still be watching on nights when the BE isn't on TV.
As always.